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Issue 268 – September 2, 2011

No. 26:

  • A bought neckerchief slide will always become lost; a hand-made slide will never be lost.

No. 27:

  • Knowing where to get the answer always trumps guessing.

Dear Andy,

What’s the proper protocol for the opening ceremony of a court of honor? Our troop does the invocation before the colors are presented. Our Scoutmaster’s position is, “It’s God and country; not country and God, and we’re a church-sponsored troop.” Is our Scoutmaster correct? (Just as a point of information, our courts of honor are held in the church’s sanctuary. Thank you. (Diane Tevnan, Patriots’ Path Council, NJ)

Based on some informal research, for questions like this there are as many answers as there are people (including one of my daughters, who’s an ordained minister). So I’m going to suggest that, instead of trying to select what’s “right” from a group of options that are all pretty much OK, the Scoutmaster and the Pastor have a brief conversation to make sure they’re both on the same page. Ultimately, it’s the Pastor’s decision (and no one else’s) because the Pastor’s the executive officer of the chartered organization sponsoring the troop.

Thanks very much—that was the best answer you could have given! (Some parents were giving the Scoutmaster such a hard time on this.) (Diane Tevnan)

Some folks may need to learn the difference between “right” and “righteous.” When I was a Scoutmaster, I carried an extra Scoutmaster badge in my pocket, and when a parent decided in his or her infinite wisdom to “correct” me, I’d take that badge out of my pocket and hold it out, palm up… “Thanks for your comment. If you’d like my job here, just take the badge out of my hand and it’s yours.” (Ever heard the expression, “deer-in-the-headlights”? <wink>)

Hello Andy,

A month or so ago I wrote to you about our troop putting a 50% attendance requirement in place for rank advancement some time ago. Since that first letter I’ve discovered the rationale for instituting this. Apparently, a while back, an Eagle candidate, held a leadership position but was never around to do his job, but when the time for his Eagle Scoutmaster’s conference and board of review came up, this was brought to light and his lack of attendance was questioned. As the story goes, none of the adult leaders would sign the Scout off on the tenure-in-position requirement, telling him that the leadership position he’s held but not performed in wouldn’t be recognized for rank advancement. His parents thereupon raised the roof, taking the rejection first to the district and council (they were apparently prepared to take it to the national council if our local council didn’t reverse the troop’s decision). Ultimately, the Scout was recognized for activities he never attended and was awarded the Eagle Scout rank at a district-level board of review. Our troop has never recognized his rank; his name doesn’t appear on our “Eagle Scout Honor Roll,” and the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair both resigned over this. Right after this, the troop enacted the 50% attendance rule. While I don’t endorse the percentage approach, I can see a scenario like this happening again, because the present BSA policy could again generate a similar controversy. It seems to me that there must be some kind of quantifying measurement for Scouts in leadership positions. Your two cents? (Name & Council Withheld)

You may get a lot more than 2¢from me on this, so before I throw my pennies in the ring, what was the “leadership position” that this Eagle candidate held for the required six months, and what did you mean by “the Scout was recognized for activities he never attended…”? Also, do you have any idea as to how many times, in that six-month period, the Scoutmaster sat down and talked with this Scout, providing him with coaching and mentoring guidance?

The position was Historian, and one of the tasks was taking photos of troop activities. While this Scout did make sure to attend a high adventure trip and a ski trip, he was scarce at most troop meetings and weekend outings.

I wasn’t privy to any conversations he may have had with the Scoutmaster, but as I understood it, he simply blew off the talks and did what he wanted, as he figured Mommy and Daddy would cover for him, and the troop couldn’t do a thing to him, as he was within BSA policy. Checking in with the ASPL on his position was easy, as that Scout was a buddy of his. The Scout was very active in sports, but strangely enough, none of his practices or games happened on troop meeting nights, and rarely on weekends. (If you haven’t guessed it by now, this kid was a manipulator.) Anyway, as a result of the brouhaha surrounding this Scout, the troop decided to put a 50% attendance requirement on all Scouts.

Yes, somebody screwed up somewhere, as this never should have been allowed to get to this point before action was taken; but fact is, the kid read the BSA policy and milked it for all he could get out of it.

Back to the policy… This troop now wants me to explain why they should drop their policy and still make Scouts answerable for their responsibilities. They’ve lost faith in the honor system. (N&CW)

Obviously, something went very wrong here and, whenthat happens, happy outcomes are virtually impossible. Interestingly, however, the troop’s naive attempt at a solution—the “50% rule”—wouldn’t have fixed the problem with this Scout, had it existed at the time, so I’m going to urge the troop to drop it because (a) it’s in pure violation of a standing BSA policy (no troop really wants to make itself out to be a renegade) and (b) there are far better ways to assure that this problem never happens again, that not only conform with BSA policies but help boys grow into responsible men. Here we go…

Senior Patrol Leader (with his Scoutmaster on his “6”) approaches Life Scout Vito, asks him, “I’d like you to be our troop Historian for the next six months. This will mean showing up at troop meetings more times than not, showing up at our troop outings and other events more often than not, taking photos of our Scouts in action, and getting the photos into our Troop Log, along with descriptions of the events we go to and the Scouts who were there, on an ongoing basis for six months. You’ll have support from Mr. Uberblick, one of our ASMs, who will be available to you for any question you may have or problems you may encounter. You may select an assistant, to cover for you at times when you know in advance that you won’t be at a specific meeting or event, and you’ll train your assistant on what he’s to do, and how to do it. But remember that, at all times, you’re the guy responsible. I think you’ve got what it takes to do this job, but if you have too many other things going on in your life to say ‘Yes’ right now, that’s OK– Just tell me ‘No’ and no hard feelings. Do you want the job?”

So Vito says “Yes,” and he starts the job OK. But soon he starts not showing up, and his backup, if there is one, can’t seem to be found. When Mr. Uberblick calls Vito about this, Vito apologizes because he missed the event and he hasn’t picked an assistant yet. Mr. Uberblick offers to help, but Vito says he can handle it, “Don’t worry, Mister U; I’m on it!”

But Vito’s not on it. A full month goes by and nothing’s happening, despite reminders, phone calls, and texts to his iPhone… nothing.

So the Senior Patrol Leader, Mr. U, and the Scoutmaster, call Vito aside for a brief “Come to Jesus” conversation, that goes like this: “Vito, you don’t seem to be handling your responsibilities as Historian, and we’re here to help you. How can we help, so that you can succeed?”

“Oh, it’s OK,” Vito sheepishly replies. “My parents have me doing all kinds of stuff and trying out for band and the cross-country team, and stuff like that, but it should settle down and then I’ll be OK…OK?”

“No, it’s not OK, Vito,” says his Senior Patrol Leader. “If you’re not on the job and getting it right, we’re going to need to find someone else who will. Two weeks from tonight’s troop meeting, we’re going to meet again, to see what’s happened between now and then. You see, Vito, our troop really need a guy who can get the job done, and I thought you were that guy, but if you’re not, it’s OK to say so, even right now, and all this can be fixed. So what’s it gonna be, Brother Scout?”

Well, Vito, not one to just cave, but also not really in touch with reality, goes for the two weeks more, but there’s no change…

“Well, Vito,” says the Senior Patrol Leader, with his Scoutmaster and Mr. U present, “We all gave it our best shot, but it just didn’t work. The two more weeks you tried produced almost nothing, and that can’t continue, as you know, so I’m relieving you of this burden right now, because it’s pretty plain that it really is a burden, and I don’t want you to fail! Down the road, when you’re ready for some responsibility in our troop, let me know, and let me know what you think you’d like to do. Shake hands…? OK!”

That’s it. It’s now clearly “on record” that Life Scout Vito was offered the job, tried it but couldn’t fulfill its responsibilities even with support, and was—in as friendly a way as possible in light of the circumstances—relieved and replaced. All of this was done in an up-front and straightforward manner, so there’s no way it can come back to bite anyone, not even Vito!

If this troop had done things this way, there would be no angst, appeal, rancor, or resignations. But, according to what you’ve described, none of this happened. The Scout was cut loose with the job, stumbled along for six months and completed his term, but no one ever told him till after it was all over that there was a problem. In the face of that, he did have every right to claim his time-in-position, and it became too late for anyone to claim otherwise. What was likely to happen in the actual (and unfortunate) scenario, did. (As for the after-the-fact allegations that he lied and deceived, I have to consider that it’s always easier for us humans to blame someone or something else rather than face up to the possibility that maybe…just maybe…we had something to do with the problem.)

There were no “winners” here and no one is blameless. The Scout, in his heart of hearts, knew what he hadn’t done, but maybe nobody ever asked him, flat out, “Do YOU believe you did the job as it was supposed to be done?” So a mess resulted, and then got worse when the Scoutmaster and Committee Chair refused, apparently, to acknowledge their own errors in the process and instead chose to pin all of the blame on the Scout, to the point of walking away from their own responsibilities to every Scout in the troop rather than taking this as a “learning moment” for themselves.

So we’re now left with two bitter former troop volunteers, legitimately angry parents, and a Scout whose last taste of Scouting was much more bitter than joyful, all culminating in the troop’s further refusal to acknowledge that this even happened (by refusing to acknowledge this Eagle Scout). In short, no one’s left standing or un-bloodied. And now there’s a “troop rule” that’s supposed to put a stop to this, by placing all of the responsibility on the Scouts and none on the adult volunteers who are supposed to be serving the youth of the troop by helping them grow into responsible citizens…and it won’t work, anyway.

Did I paint “an ‘ideal’ situation”? Of course I did! Should there be a goal set that’s less than what we’re here to do?

And that’s my double-Lincolns.

Hi Andy,

Can Scout parents who are registered Merit Badge Counselors be counselors for their own sons? We’re a small troop and the next closest towns with Counselors is 45 minutes’ drive away. With so many merit badges requiring demonstrations, it’s impractical to have to do that sort of driving for certain requirements. Or, is it better to travel, and not risk any improprieties someone may think happened, at boards of review? I’m currently counseling my own son and another Scout on Lifesaving merit badge. Does this look bad? (Leonard Wilhite, ASM, Los Padres Council, CA)

Your council is supposed to have a list of all Merit Badge Counselors for all covered merit badges, throughout your total council service area, including your particular locale. Call ’em up and ask where you can get a copy (it’s supposed to be updated every year or so, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find). If nobody seems to know, get the name and contact information for your District Advancement Chair (the same person you contact forEagle projects and such), get in touch, and ask for the list.

Now, to answer your question more directly: The BSA says specifically that it’s perfectly OK for a Merit Badge Counselor to counsel a relative (son, nephew) on the merit badge(s) the MBC is approved for.

That said, as far as distance is concerned, this is between Counselor and Scout, and I have to say I’m not understanding the purported problem here. I lived in Southern California for nearly 20 years and while 45 minutes is a bit far, when my own son needed to see a MBC and he couldn’t get there on his own, you bet I’d get him there! So stop thinking it’s the troop’s responsibility to provide Merit Badge Counselors (that’s the council’s and district’s job—let ’em do it!) and start letting these Scouts do a little work for themselves. (Besides, based on some MapQuest research, the troop’s in pretty open country, which means these parents are pretty used to driving the open road!)

As a MBC myself, when I worked with my son I almost always had a batch of his buddies there, too, and they all did it together. But not 100%. And, on the one merit badge I did do with my son only, if anyone even so much as looked sideways at that, they could figure on a sharp stick pokin’ ’em in the eye. There’s a thing called Scout’s Honor for Merit Badge Counselors, too.

Dear Andy,

I have a comment about the response in your May 11th column, where you said that Wolves can’t have pocketknives and you referred the person asking the question to the Guide to Safe Scouting. In the appendix of “Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities,” under “Tools,” it does show that Wolfs and Bears can carry pocket knives. Moreover, in the Wolf Handbook elective 23b there’s a list of eight camping essentials to take, and the eighth is a pocketknife. The Cub Scout Leader Book (previous yellow edition, pp.13-5 and29-5; new edition p. 139) has a section regarding using pocketknives and the Whittling Chip, and states that “Cub Scouts and Webelos Scouts may earn the right to carry a pocketknife to designated Scouting functions by completing requirements for the Whittling Chip card.” Many people, I think, believe that only Bears and above can earn this, because whittling and knife safety is part of Bear achievement 19: “Shavings and Chips.” Also, a previous version of the Whittling chip actually referred to Bear Achievement 19. The currentWhittling Chip card doesn’tspecifically refer to Bear achievements. I agree that the unit can institute a rule that exceeds BSA safety standards, but I couldn’t find anything supporting the idea thatWolves can’t earn the Whittling Chip and carry a pocketknife. On a side note, the previous Cub Scout Leader Book actually lists pocketknives in the index (but the newer book doesn’t list them, even though it discusses pocketknives. (Mike Pease, Pack Trainer, Gulf Ridge Council, FL)

Elective perhaps, and maybe you can find it, but for the life of me I can’t spot a single Wolf achievement that involves using a knife. Yes, a pocketknife is included in the “camping essentials” list, and of course we know that the Cub Scout and his Akela (Mom and/or Dad, right?) are the ones who go camping, so this hardly demands that the boy himself pack a knife. So the bottom line is that a pocketknife is a non-essential. (And it’s also a fact that, just like us humans, books aren’t perfect, either: check page 195 of the Wolf book and tell me which is the braided rope and which is the twisted [or “laid”] rope.) So, if you and your Den Leaders and parents are happy with eight year olds and pocketknives, well, that’s your decision.

I wouldn’t work on pocketknives with Wolves myself—I barely made it through teaching Bears without pulling my hair out! Though it’s not a requirement, nor is it essential for Wolves to work with knives, when people argue that Wolves can use them, the Guide To Safe Scouting backs them up. (Mike)

OK, so your reply is simple: “You, dear parent (or dear Den Leader) are in charge. Should there be an accident or incident, it will definitely be recorded that you insisted on the knife and have taken responsibility for its proper use. Have a nice day!”

Hey Andy,

Money seems to be an issue with most Boy Scout troops in regards to who pays and what account—general, or individual Scout—the money goes into. Since one of the BSA’s goals is for every Scout to raise enough money to cover his program expenses for the year, I’d think that once basic expenses are covered, the general account that all fundraisers that Scouts are participating in goes into their individual account; not a general account. This would teach a lot about finances and budgeting, especially if the treasurer is giving statements to the Scouts each month. Finances and budgeting are life skills that they really need to be taught, in my opinion. Your opinion please. (Shelly Broderick, Arizona)

Back in the day, we Boy Scouts used to bring our dues money to troop meetings each week, and our patrol scribe would record this and turn the coins and recording envelope in to the Troop Scribe. From this, we learned a great deal. I had several jobs as an eleven year-old, including a paper route that I walked and a neighborhood-based greeting card-selling business, too. From these, I bought my Scout camping gear (such as it was, from a local Army-Navy Surplus store) and the newest “Hardy Boys” book as soon as it was published (I had a collection, at one time, of some forty or more of them, plus a bunch in the “Tom Swift” series and, later, the “Rick Brant” and “Ken Holt” series as well!) In fact, in my era, a specific requirement to earn the ranks of Second Class and First Class was to personally maintain my own savings account! By the time I was 14, I had an afternoon after-school and all-day Saturday job and began buying all my own clothes, books, hobby items, and so forth, till I had enough money, in a few years, to buy my own car and keep it maintained. From these early lessons in money-earning, saving, and paying my own way, I can say with absolute honesty that since I was eleven I’ve never not been gainfully employed (Yup, I worked all through college, too, including staffing Scout camps in the summer!) in one way or another. I think I can say without reservation that these “life-ethics” originated, for me, in the Boy Scouts.

Dear Andy,

In your June 10th column, you answered a grandmother’s question about patrol emblems (instead of den numerals) patches on the Webelos uniform, discouraging their use. Actually, there’s an illustration in the Webelos Handbookin the section on Webelos Insignia: Under the illustration showing the den numeral it states, “Cub Scout or Webelos Scout right sleeve,” and under the illustration of the patrol emblem it states, “Webelos Scout right sleeve.” That’s on page 34 of the 2005 edition. As I interpret this illustration, it looks as though you can wear only the den numeral if you’re in the blue shirt, but if you’re in the tan shirt you can use a den numeral or a patrol emblem. Mind you, they’re not called a “patrol” since they aren’t Boy Scouts (they’d be the [Critter] Den). It also makes sense to follow that illustration since the Webelos program is a transitional phase aimed at becoming Boy Scouts and learning what the Boy Scout experience will be like. I think you’re your suggesting that this practice is inappropriate, or that the pack is straying when it allows Webelos to wear the patrol emblems, is a bit harsh. I very much enjoy reading your columns and how you back up what you say, but I couldn’t find anything to back up this comment. If you’re correct on this, then the BSA shouldupdate their Webelos Handbookto reflect this position. (Mike Pease, Gulf Ridge Council, FL)

Thanks for your research, and your commentary. Your interpretation is interesting, but ever-so-slightly not quite accurate. Den numerals are worn by all youth in the Cub Scout program; however, an option does exist for the use of a patrol medallion instead of a den numeral; color of shirt not specified. But did you notice that the medallion illustration is secondary; just as, per the “Webelos Scout Inspection Sheet” (34635) it isn’t even shown? It’s also not shown on the inside back cover of the handbook for Webelos Scouts. This might begin to suggest that, while it’s not “illegal,” it’s certainly uncommon practice. That said, in retrospect I do agree with you that my use of the term “inappropriate” was likely too strong: Its origin is most likely from my time-in-service as a Webelos Den Leader, during which time the Cubs had every intention of taking their den numeral group identification straight from their Bobcat pin days straight through to graduation.

Dear Andy,

My son is currently a Star scout. For his four-month Star leadership position, he served as Troop Historian. As a Star, he was elected for a second term as Troop Historian. Admittedly, he is quiet, and not an in-your-face leader, but he takes his Scouting seriously, and his work as Historian was by all measures outstanding.

Both his Scoutmaster and the board of review coordinator have told him that they won’t advance him to Life until he serves another four months in what they’re calling a “real” leadership position, such as Patrol Leader, Assistant Senior Patrol Leader, or Senior Patrol Leader. In reviewing his Boy Scout Handbook, I’m feeling that my son has met the stated leadership requirement for Life, and that the Scoutmaster and board of review coordinator have effectively added a requirement beyond what the BSA says. I’m certain that the board of review shouldn’t be making this sort of decision, but I’m not sure if the Scoutmaster has such authority, and I’m wondering if I should challenge them on this. I’d sure appreciate your thoughts. (Committee Member, Santa Clara Council, CA)

Historian is one of the positions of responsibility that, with proper tenure, qualifies for Star, Life, and Eagle ranks. To insist that a Scout, after having completed tenure in this qualifying position, do yet another stint in any other position, is a violation of BSA national policy. He’s already served in a “real” position and isn’t required to repeat that requirement; nor can that requirement be added to. This isn’t merely my opinion; this is the policy of the Boy Scouts of America.

Yes, the troop’s adult volunteer leaders need to be shown the language of the requirement and politely asked to revisit their decision on this. If they don’t conform with BSA policy, regardless of any rationale they might offer, you need to get your son out of that troop as fast as you can and get him into a troop that follows the BSA rules.

Thanks for your insights and advice, Andy.

Over the past few years, our troop has had nearly a complete change of leadership, and that’s when most of these rules were instituted. In one more month, my son will have completed six months as Historian. I’m thinking of letting him sign up for the Scoutmaster conference, expecting that he will either be blocked by the Scoutmaster or, if not, then blocked at the board of review. When this happens, I will discuss BSA policy with the Scoutmaster and, if necessary, the members of the review board. I do think that our current Scoutmaster will, when shown the error, adjust the policy. For the other young scouts, I will insure that our troop makes the change, even if I must escalate this issue to the district, but I don’t expect that any of our leaders will be that stubborn once the error is made clear. (MC in CA)

My very first thought is this: Do not allow your son to be ambushed by a completely unauthorized and inappropriate “troop rule”! This is unfair to him, subjects him unnecessarily to abuse of power, and can be averted if you and other like-minded parents act with alacrity, purpose, and steadfastness. The BSA clearly states that adding to requirements is prohibited. If the troop’s leaders allowed your son to assume the position of Historian, knowing full well that they intended to deny him advancement in rank after his having served the stated tenure in this position (which his handbook and every single piece of writing by the BSA tells him qualifies for advancement), then I’m obliged to say that they’re purposefully abusing the young men they’re supposed to be serving. If they refuse to acknowledge their error of judgment, and immediately change this abusive “rule” of theirs, they deserve nothing less than immediate and irrevocable expulsion from the troop. That’s right: Take ’em all out back and shoot the lot of ’em. In a Scout-like manner, of course.

Dear Andy,

My question is about saluting the American flag while being in “Class B” uniform. Recently at summer camp this year, the camp staff informed all the troop leaders that the Scouts must salute the American flag even though they’re in “Class B.” Are they correct in this?

It’s a fact that the BSA doesn’t use the terms “Class A” or “Class B”—and never has, interestingly enough! In the BSA, it’s “field uniform” and “activity uniform,” and then “civvies.” That’s it. The field uniform is the official shirt (with or without neckerchief-and-slide, per majority troop vote), official belt, official pants or shorts, and official socks (cap optional, per majority troop vote). The activity uniform is identical to this except that the shirt is a BSA-themed tee, golf, or polo shirt. Since both are characterized as uniforms, it’s totally appropriate to use the hand-to-eyebrow or hand-to-cap brim salute.

Dear Andy,

Where do I begin to explain the need for my question? In the next fewweeks there will be an adult leadership change in our troop. Many committee member positions will be changing hands as well as the Scoutmaster position. I’m afraid thatthe new Troop Advancement Chair will be given bad information and even worse training from some leaders that think they “know everything” about BSA. Here’s why I say that…

While at resident camp, some of the adults were sitting around a campfire, chatting about advancement. One of our Assistant Scoutmasters(who has a strong personality and always thinks he’s right because he’s an Eagle Scout) was telling the new Advancement Chair, “No Scout should advance to the higher ranks of Star and Life until he’s at least 14 years old, and under no circumstance should a Scout become an Eagle until he’s 16” because “There’s no way a Scout is ready for it” (i.e., Star, Life, or Eagle). He went on to say that “I’m going to sit in on boards of review, too” (ostensibly to make sure this doesn’t happen).The other (new) adults allagreed with that, and one even went on to proudly say how “We held a Scout back from getting Life (Note: All stated requirements were properly completed) because he was only 14.”

This upset me a great deal, not just for my own son but for all Scouts to follow him. My son has completed all of Life rank requirements and will be completinghis application within the week…but he’s barely 13-1/2. If this new administration does what they’ve been saying, my son would need to wait at least six more months to receive a rank that he’s already completed all requirements for!

I have no problems switching troops and there are about eight good ones in our town alone to choose from! But why should my son have to lose six months of his time because the troop’s adults are meddling with BSAPolicy? If we leave the troop now,

He’ll need to complete another six months in a position of responsibility in his new troop anyway, to get his Life rank!

I have searched the internetfor the BSA policy in writing so that I can refute the troop’s age policy. I have asked the district people to please provide proper training for troop Advancement Chairs. No Luck with any of it. Please, if you could help me with this dilemmaI’d be eternally grateful. (Name Withheld in Westchester Putnam Council, NY)

First, let’s confirm: These people are wrong.

In the BSA book, Advancement Committee Policies and Procedures, this statement is made: “A basic goal should be for each Scout to advance a rank during the year. New Scouts should earn the First Class rank during their first year in the troop.” So, let’s do the math: First Class by his 12th birthday, Star by 13, Life by 14, and Eagle by his 15th birthday (meaning: He’s still 14!). That should be the end of the story, but let’s add one more BSA policy from the same book and other sources (e.g., the 2011 Boy Scout Requirements book) as well: “No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or to subtract from, any advancement requirements.” That would obviously include any mandate that a Scout be any specific age before being considered eligible to advance in rank.

If these folks don’t correct their thinking, get your son and his friends out of that troop. As for tenure, I’m not understanding why you think your son would have to repeat his tenure in a “new” troop, if he’s already completed that in his present troop. He simply tells his new Scoutmaster what he’s done and the right kind of Scoutmaster will accept this, on the simple basis of Scout’s honor.

If you’ve the courage (and I believe you do!), show your question and my answer to as many parents with sons in the same predicament as yours, and all of you show up at a committee meeting and demand that they make this “rule” of theirs go away—immediately. Believe me, a room filled with knowledgeable, adamant parents will get results!

Hi Andy,

In your August 17th column I read with great interest your response to the Scouter who was concerned about one council’s new additional requirement that an Eagle candidate must submit written and sealed letters of recommendation prior to his Eagle board of review. My troop is also in this same council and therefore subjected to this additional “requirement” as well.

I’ve written to our council’s Scout Executive to express my concern and to respectfully request that the council do the right thing. I only hope that other Scouters in my council will do the same. Thank you for your time and your column. I’ve learned a lot from them! (Mike Anderson, Scoutmaster, Seneca Waterways Council, NY)

The more of you all who speak up, the better the opportunity for this miscarriage to get fixed. Spread the word! And thanks for reading—glad I could be of some help! (Letters like yours are my “paycheck”!)

Happy Scouting!



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September 2, 2011 – Copyright © Andy McCommish 2011)

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About AskAndy

Andy is a Board Member of the U.S. Scouting Service Project, Inc.

Andy has just received notification by his council Scout Executive that he is to be recognized as a National Distinguished Eagle Scout. He is currently serving as a Unit Commissioner and his council's International Representative. He has previously served in a number of other Scouting roles including Assistant Council Commissioner, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster, Den Leader, and--as a Scout--Patrol Leader, Senior Patrol Leader, and Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. His awards include: Kashafa Iraqi Scouting Service Award, Distinguished Commissioner, Doctor of Commissioner Science, International Scouter Award, District Award of Merit (2), Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Scouter's Key (3), Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award, Cliff Dochterman Rotarian Scouter Award, James E. West Fellow (2), Wood Badge & Sea Badge, and Eagle Scout & Explorer Silver Award.

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